The Effects of Smartphones on Kids' Health and Behavior
Children are growing up in a world that is more connected than ever before. They have access to a wealth of information, and many of them are using smartphones and tablets by the time they start school.
How do these ' smartphones' affect children's mental and physical health? Let's take a closer look.
How much is too much?
Tweens and teens, on average, are glued to their mobile phones for anywhere from over four hours to seven hours a day.
There are some studies that show that children who spend two to three hours on their phones may be at risk of developing mental and physical health problems.
The health impact of excess mobile phone usage
A recent study has found that children who are glued to digital devices including mobile phones are more likely to have attention problems and hyperactivity. In addition, children who excessively use mobile phones are prone to a range of mental and physical health issues such as:
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder
- Alcohol use disorder
- Difficulty in regulating their emotions
- Low self-esteem
- Reduced physical fitness
- Sleep problems
- Unhealthy eating habit
What can you do as a parent to reduce mobile phone usage?
There are many things that parents can do to help children reduce mobile phone usage.
Create a family plan: Come up with a family plan together with their children in order to establish clear boundaries about what is appropriate and what is not. This includes setting limits on screen time per day, as well as deciding how long they are allowed to use the devices before bedtime or during school hours.
Set up parental controls: Some smartphones come with parental control features that allow parents to limit how much time kids spend on specific apps or control the types of media they can access.
Talk about healthy social relationships: Expose your children to healthy social interactions and teach them how to interact with people both in person and online.
Encourage them to take up other activities: From spending time in nature, and learning a language to playing outdoor games that encourage creativity, the possibilities are endless!
Time away from devices is necessary for children to focus on their overall development and happiness.